Statement from the BAS Board
Dear fellow Black alumni,
When we founded the BYU Black Alumni Society in early 2017, we were motivated, in part, by the social, cultural, and political upheaval our country was experiencing. The Electoral College had just chosen, as the successor to our nation’s first Black president, a man who had first entered the political arena by championing racist “birther” conspiracy theories, among other disturbingly racist conduct.
We saw the way that election affected many of BYU’s Black alumni and students. We understood that, for the BYU students, this was occurring while they attended classes in buildings named after racists, segregationists, and slaveowners. We remembered what it was like to collectively comprise less than 1% of a student body of over 30,000. We relived the microaggressions, slights, stereotypes, and “isolated” incidents, like the Confederate flag that was prominently displayed in a BYU dorm window during the 2016 campaign. Mindful of that context, and the moment our country was experiencing, we took action.
We are confronting a similarly defining moment in our society right now. Our hearts ache for Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless other Black men and women who have been murdered by police and vigilantes. We stand with all those who protest these horrific crimes and demand more from a justice system that is reluctant to hold their murderers accountable. The technological advancements of the last decade have allowed the world to witness with their own eyes the brutality, injustice, and oppression that Black communities have suffered for generations.
Just as we did nearly four years ago, we see the effect this is having on BYU’s Black alumni and students. We are concerned that our students remain subject to unacceptable conditions on campus, including new “isolated” incidents, like the racist questions addressed to Black students during a recent Black History Month panel. Now, as then, we will take action.
In the coming weeks, we plan to meet with university leaders, decisionmakers, and stakeholders to promote meaningful change at BYU. Our goal is to help make BYU a better environment for our students and an institution that our alumni can be proud to call their alma mater. We have compiled a list of proposed actions the university should take to address issues of race equity at BYU, many of which were mentioned in the powerful letter authored by BYU Black Student Union president Déborah Aléxis.
We would like to include your voices when we approach university leaders. To that end, please take a moment to fill out this form and tell us what changes you would like to see at BYU. We are committed to ensuring that this social awakening becomes a movement, not merely a moment.
Above all, please know that we are here to support you during this difficult time. The current circumstances in our country are emotionally burdensome, and we invite you to reach out and find fellowship and understanding in this community. It has been said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Please take the time to care for yourselves, be there for each other, and join us in working to make lasting, positive change at BYU. We need you.
In service and solidarity,
Board of Directors
BYU Black Alumni Society